See you at Comic-Con!

I'm one of the "special guests" at this year's San Diego Comic-Con! If you're attending, I hope you'll come by and see some of my programming items, especially my spotlight interview with Cecil Castellucci (Friday, July 20, 1330h-1430h, Room 24ABC), where I'll be making an exciting announcement. Read the rest

Deep-fried filet mignon, spaghetti donuts, and "unicorn-specific" foods debut at the San Diego County Fair

The San Diego County Fair, the largest one in the United States with an estimated 1.6M visitors annually, is known for its quirky, over-the-top vendor food. This organizers of this year's fair themed it "How sweet it is" and asked its vendors to come up with at least one rainbow-colored "unicorn-specific" dish.

One vendor took the unicorn-food challenge and created these cotton candy ice cream sandwiches:

Yes, those are Fruity Pebbles.

San Diego Union-Tribune podcasters Abby Hamblin and Luis Gomez humorously rated the taste of five of the fair's more unusual food offerings:

Deep-fried filet mignon:

[Abby] This dish wins the award for ugliest presentation with the best taste...

Not an actual donut (sad face)

Spaghetti donut:

[Luis] This dish was exactly what I had imagined, which is just a bunch of pasta shaped as a doughnut. It’s not fried. And it tasted just as I imagined, just pasta. It wasn’t disappointing, but it wasn’t totally exciting either...

Lasagna nachos:

[Abby] This was my favorite of the day. It tastes like pasta but feels like a nacho...

More: San Diego County Fair food diary: 5 unique dishes to try and What to eat at the San Diego County Fair this summer

The fair is open now through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

screenshots via The San Diego Union-Tribune Read the rest

The CADO: A pop-up museum celebrating the avocado to open in San Diego

There's the Museum of Ice Cream, and more recently, The Museum of Selfies. Now there's an Instagram-friendly pop-up museum dedicated to California's most iconic fruit, the avocado. It's called The CADO and it opens in June in San Diego. Tickets are available now.

Step into a world of the green you love to ‘gram and emerge with more than a pretty picture (but you’ll get plenty of those, too!). Built out of 16 shipping containers fused together to create an expansive mobile structure, you’ll walk into our lobby and be fully immersed in a story as each exhibit builds on the one before. Get ready to see the California Avocado in a new light as you walk through the skin and into the fruit. Are you shrinking or is the avocado growing?

Follow their Instagram if you want to see lots of avocado toast:

View this post on Instagram

Currently craving. ✌🏼💛🥑 . #DYK California Avocados act as a “nutrient booster” by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K and E. So, we vote #avotoast all day, er’ry day. . 📷: @breakfast_and_bowls

A post shared by the CADO (@thecado.co) on Apr 11, 2018 at 12:09pm PDT

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What do you top your toast with? ✌🏼💛🥑 . . 📸: @cultivatewithkruti

A post shared by the CADO (@thecado.co) on Mar 23, 2018 at 6:01am PDT

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No right way. ✌🏼💛🥑 . . 📷: @laurennataliephotography

A post shared by the CADO (@thecado.co) on Mar 15, 2018 at 2:59pm PDT

Read the rest

I'm speaking at UCSD on Feb 9!

I'm appearing at UCSD on February 9, with a talk called "Scarcity, Abundance and the Finite Planet: Nothing Exceeds Like Excess," in which I'll discuss the potentials for scarcity and abundance -- and bright-green vs austere-green futurism -- drawing on my novels Walkaway, Makers and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Read the rest

Come see me at San Diego Comic-Con!

There are three more stops on my tour for Walkaway: tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con, next weekend at Defcon 25 in Las Vegas, and August 10th at the Burbank Public Library. Read the rest

San Diego! Come hear me read from Walkaway tomorrow night at Comickaze Liberty Station!

I'm teaching the Clarion Science Fiction writing workshop at UCSD in La Jolla this week, and tomorrow night at 7PM, I'll be reading from my novel Walkaway at Comickaze Liberty Station, 2750 Historic Decatur Rd #101, San Diego, CA 92106. Hope to see you! Read the rest

Melissa del Bosque, Ta-Nehisi Coates & co: "Cigarette cards" for muckraking journalists

Dave Maass writes, "In the 1890s, a tobacco company included collectors cards featuring 'American Editors' in its cigarette packs. In all, they were 49 white dudes and one woman, and the only diversity was in their beards and mustaches." Read the rest

See you this afternoon, San Diego! (then Portland, Seattle, Bellingham...) (!)

We had a great Walkaway tour stop last night in Scottsdale, AZ, and now I'm headed to San Diego to help the legendary Mysterious Galaxy store celebrate its birthday, closing out a fantastic day of speakers, readers and signings at 4PM. Read the rest

Wonderful video of New Wave dance club in the 1980s

Much of this wonderful video could have been shot at Cincinnati's Metro/Clubhaus where I spent the late 1980s, but it's actually from Stratus in San Diego, California. This is the first in a series of vintage Stratus videos that you can watch here.

Read the rest

Kickstarting a documentary about the San Diego underground scene

Noah Swartz writes, "Last night I got a chance to see a screening of It's Gonna Blow, a documentary about the underground scene in San Diego directed and produced by Bill Perrine." Read the rest

SF/F writers: apply now for Clarion and Clarion West

Applications are open for both the Clarion Writing Workshop at UC San Diego and the Clarion west workshop in Seattle, a pair of legendary, six-week intensive instructional summer workshops for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers. Read the rest

WATCH: 2015's biggest toilet snake proves nightmares do come true

San Diego County's Department of Animal Services announced a 5.5 foot Colombian rainbow boa emerged from an office building's toilet. Read the rest

SDCC: Map of San Diego's surveillance network

Dave Maass sez, "If you're going to San Diego Comic-Con, you might want to dodge the cameras on this map if you're not in costume." Read the rest

Gilbert Hernandez's limited-edition Harbringer cover, to benefit CBLDF (#SDCC)

Going to San Diego Comic Con? Be sure and drop by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's booth (#1920) to pick up this special Harbringer issue with a Gilbert Hernandez cover (see the full art here, exclusive to Boing Boing!), with proceeds to support the CBLDF's excellent anti-censorship work. Read the rest

Surveillance baron busted by FBI for election-finance fraud

Last week, the FBI arrested Jose Susumo Azano Matsura at his home in Coronado, CA. Azano was a rich, successful surveillance technology vendor who came to prominence by touting ubiquitous, intense surveillance as an answer to social problems and got rich through a no-bid contract to supply surveillance tools to the Mexican military, and expanded to supply Internet surveillance tools through his company Security Tracking Devices, with offices in Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

Azano's company supplied bulk-surveillance tools for spying on entire populations, as well as targeted malware intended for secret implantation on victims' laptops and phones to turn them into spy tools. They also sold access to a database, maintained by IBM, of 1.3 million names of people whom governments should be spying on.

Azano was arrested for corruption -- illegal election financing in San Diego. His scandal is just the latest in a string involving con artists, crooks and grafters who go into the spying business. For example, the founder of one major censorware company, doing business with numerous American school districts (as well as autocratic Middle Eastern leaders) was placed on the California sex-offender registry for "sexually interfering with a 14 year old girl."

One of the arguments for surveillance is that only the good guys will be able to peer into the data gathered by the bugs. But the evidence is that the kind of person who decides to get rich by spying on other people is generally not a very good guy, and these people are the people who ultimately have control over the tools that spy on kids, on citizens, on visitors, on Internet users and on members of our governments. Read the rest

Mall cops freak out over steampunk meetup, call the real cops

A group of steampunk cosplayers arranged to meet up at Westfield Plaza Camino Real near San Diego to ride the mall's Victorian carousel. But Westfield's mall cops were terrified of the cosplayers and evicted them all, escorting them to the door, calling the cops, and making them wait until the police arrived (the police basically shrugged and said, "Look, it's stupid, but it's their mall").

The mall cops -- and their corporate overlords -- cited a variety of dumb policies in support of the action, including a ban on wearing costumes that obscured the wearer's face (which didn't describe the cosplayers' outfits), a ban on gathering in groups larger than three (ORLY), a ban on photography without the subjects' permission (the steampunks, having gathered to have their photos taken, can be presumed to have consented to the pictures). Basically, it's a case of mall cop authoritarianism followed by the usual bland corporate doubling-down.

Of course, kids -- especially kids who happen to be brown -- already know that malls are capricious and fraught replacements for the public square. Mall cops basically hate anything that doesn't accord with their view of what a shopper should be and relentlessly discriminate against anyone they don't like. Back when I was in high school, more than half of my school had been banned from College Park, the mall in Toronto that was across the street from the school, by sneering jerks from Intercon security, who had the full backing of their management and the mall management. Read the rest

San Diego traffic, organized by color

Cy Kuckenbaker's Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color edits together footage of four minutes' worth of traffic shot from San Diego's Washington Street bridge, grouping the cars that passed by color. It's got a gorgeous surreality to it, as though the drivers had grouped by color for some sort of parade. Also, I learned that if you want to stand out in San Diego, you should drive a yellow car. Read the rest

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